KB Home Staggers as New Orders Decline (KBH)

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Home builder KB Home (NYSE: KBH) was not expected to post a profit in its fourth quarter — and it didn’t. The company reported a fourth-quarter EPS loss of -$0.59, more than twice as bad as the consensus estimate for an EPS loss of -$0.24. Revenue was up 29% from the same period a year ago at $254.6 million, but analysts were looking for revenue of $337.7 million.

The worse news for the builder is that orders are down -8% from 1,302 a year ago to 1,197. The company said gross orders were up, but that the cancellation rate rose from 29% to 36% year-over-year. The order backlog is up to 2,203 new homes valued at $460.3 million.

The company did not have anything new to add to the housing recovery story:

Reflecting the improving trends in the economy, including recent job growth and higher consumer confidence, we are seeing signs that the overall housing market is stabilizing and beginning to recover. The pace of the recovery is uneven, however, with certain local markets showing greater strength and more normalized activity than other areas where a rebound will take longer to manifest. We expect that the housing market in general will gradually strengthen as the economy continues to advance.

KB Home’s shares are down about -15% in the pre-market, at $9.57 in a 52-week range of $5.02-$13.60.

Paul Ausick